ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team Monday salvaged a split against last year’s Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoff champion Saint John’s, losing the first game 2-0 before winning game two 7-3. The split moves the Gusties to 17-9 overall and 5-3 in the MIAC, while the Johnnies move to 17-8 overall and 7-3 in the league.
Game one featured a pitchers’ duel between Brice Panning (Fy., Hamburg, Minn.) and Jake Dickmeyer. The score remained scoreless through six complete innings until the Johnnies finally broke through in the seventh with a pair of runs on a two-out single, which proved to be the difference.
Panning exited the game with two outs in the seventh with runners on the corners. Casey Lewandoski (Jr., Fairbanks, Alaska) came in relief and surrendered the game-winning hit. The loss went to Panning, who allowed two runs on just four hits, with four strikeouts and four walks. His counterpart, Dickmeyer, went the distance with eight strikeouts and zero walks with just two hits allowed.
The Gusties snapped the Johnnies’ eight-game win streak in game two, fueled by a four-run seventh inning that broke a 2-2 tie.
Gustavus scored its first run of the day in the first inning as Josh Chatfield (Sr., Apple Valley, Minn.) singled, advanced to second on a ground ball that ricocheted off the base umpire, and scored on a single by Peterson. The Gusties took a 2-0 lead in the second after Matt Berkner (So., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) reached on an error, advanced to second on a grounder, and scored with aggressive base running on an infield single by Welckle.
Saint John’s finally got to pitcher Connor Kern (Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.) in the seventh inning with a run on three hits and a sacrifice fly. The Johnnies tied the game in the seventh with a two-out rally – getting a walk backed by consecutive singles, ending Kern’s day on the hill. Lewandoski came in relief for the second time on the day and got out of the jam.
The Gusties responded with the four-run seventh frame. John Lundquist (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) reached on an error and advanced to third on a double by Berkner. John DeMarais (Sr., Winona, Minn.) ensued with a two-run double, which proved to be the game-winning hit. Two batters later, Chatfield belted a two-run homer over the right field fence for a 6-2 advantage.
The visitors got a run back in the eighth on a pair of hits, but the Gusties responded in the bottom half as Peterson walked and later scored on a wild pitch.
Kern lasted six and two-thirds innings in a no-decision. He allowed two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Lewandoski got the win after two and one-thirds innings. He allowed one run on four hits with a strikeout and a walk. Berkner led the Gusties at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs and a double.
Danny Carlson (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) finished the day with three assists, putting him at 402 in his career, and is now 14 shy of setting the program’s career assist record.
Gustavus hits the road Wednesday for a 2:30 p.m. MIAC doubleheader at Macalester (16-10, 6-4 MIAC).